By John Hugh DeMastri
- Three PACs, who spent millions on Democratic candidates or advocacy, have not publicly stated whether they will return a combined $29.3 million in donations from disgraced former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, and did not return a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- The groups, Protect Our Future, GMI PAC and Vote Rev PAC, may be obligated to return the money as part of the bankruptcy proceedings for Bankman-Fried’s former company, FTX, according to Bloomberg.
- In recent weeks, the Democratic National Committee and several candidates and politicians who received money from Bankman-Fried have announced plans to either return the money or donate a matching value to charity.
A trio of Democrat-affiliated Political Action Committees (PAC) that together received nearly $30 million from disgraced former crypto CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, according to the Washington Post, have not yet announced whether they intend to return this money, and have not responded to inquiries from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Protect Our Future PAC, GMI PAC, and Vote Rev PAC received a combined total of just over $29.3 million from Bankman-Fried in the 2022 election cycle, according to the Washington Post. In total, Bankman-Fried donated just shy of $39 million to Democrat-aligned causes in the 2022 midterm election cycle, making him the second-largest individual donor to Democratic groups in the 2022 election cycle, according to finance watchdog OpenSecrets.
Protect Our Future, who received $27 million from Bankman-Fried, spent roughly $19 million on broadcast and media ads and roughly $1 million on media production for Democratic candidates and issues via the company Screen Strategies Media, according to OpenSecrets. Screen Strategies Media received a combined total of $52 million from more than two dozen groups aligned with Democratic candidates, with Protect Our Future donating more than three times the next largest donor, according to OpenSecrets.
GMI PAC received $2 million from Bankman-Fried, and while it made no direct contributions to candidates, it gave roughly $5.8 million to the Democrat-aligned Web3 Forward PAC and $2.8 million to the Republican-aligned Crypto Innovation PAC in the 2022 midterm cycle, according to the Federal Election Committee (FEC). Web3 forward endorsed half a dozen Democratic nominees to the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms, all of whom were victorious.
The Vote Rev PAC, who received $350,000 from Bankman-Fried, spent more than $95,000 directly in support of two candidates, Sen. Jonathan Ossoff of Georgia and Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock of Georgia, though Warnock received just $288.29 from the group, according to the FEC. The group is primarily focused on tripling voter turnout — a goal it spent roughly $2 million on in the 2022 cycle, according to the FEC — and revolutionizing “the way the progressive movement engages with voters,” according to its website.
These groups may be forced to return these donations to Bankman-Fried’s former company, FTX, as part of the crypto exchange’s bankruptcy process following its collapse amid allegations that the former billionaire defrauded customers for billions, according to Bloomberg. Whether or not this money can feasibly be recovered is unclear at this time, in part due to the various state and federal laws governing campaign finance, in part because much of the money might have already been spent, but also because courts might find it not worth making the attempt.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas at the request of the U.S. on Dec. 12, and is set to be extradited to the U.S. possibly as soon as Wednesday afternoon. Bankman-Fried’s mother, Barbara Fried, and brother, Gabe Bankman-Fried, stepped down from their roles in the Dem-aligned dark money group Mind The Gap in November, after FTX’s collapse put the family’s political operations in the spotlight. (RELATED: ‘House Of Cards’: SEC Lawsuit Alleges Bankman-Fried’s Multibillion-Dollar Fraud On FTX Began ‘From The Start’)
Media outlets ProPublica and Vox announced that they would be returning a combined $1.8 million in grants donated by Sam Bankman-Fried Tuesday.
The Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, plan to return the roughly $1.1 million they received from Bankman-Fried, pending guidance on the ongoing lawsuits surrounding the former CEO, according to Reuters. The Democratic Senate Majority Committee announced plans Dec. 20 to return $2 million from Sam Bankman-Fried and $1 million from FTX’s former head of engineering, Nishad Singh, according to CNBC.
Various politicians who received money directly from Bankman-Fried — including Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Dick Durbin of Illinois, Republican Sens. John Boozman of Arkansas and John Hoeven of North Dakota — have publicly announced, or confirmed to the DCNF, that they intend to donate or otherwise return the funds they received, which ranged between $2,500 to roughly $20,000.